Acziun Susch › Previous Residencies › Willi Dorner & Lisa Rastl / AT

DornerRastl / AT 


Acziun Susch commission 2021 

Unique walk through Muzeum Susch 

within the especially commissioned for Muzeum Susch project, its architecture is put forward. Together with Erich Schmidt and from his point of reference, Vienese duo Lisa Rastl and Willi Dorner walked through and experienced the museum spaces questoning how blind from birth Erich sensed and constructed in his mind the museum‘ maze-like building. Being not visually distracted, Mr. Schmid depends primarily on his hearing, smell, temperature and his sense of balance and touch. Which impression does Mr. Schmidt get? And „Im-Pression“ seems to be here indeed the most appropriate word bringing forward pure and practical bodily experience and gesture. 

o/mission possible is an audio guide created with a blind person. Being blind from his birth, Mr. Erich Schmid had never been able to see and therefore refer to any visual impressions. He states always that he sees nothing, not even black nor white, just nothing. So unimaginable. Herewith we reach limits of perception and thinking. 

I believe that it is equally inconceivable for us to comprehend what kind of "picture" a blind person creates. Through inquiries I learn that Erich actually makes pictures. We talk about it with words he has learned and yet, his images and ideas about the words we use together are different, simply different than for us, the sighted people. We talked about his understanding of "red" for example: for him it is just a word, but he has no conventional image and emotion attached to it. And "wall" is a sound and an experience in the form of touch. 

These introductory remarks are important to me in order to better understand what it means for a blind person to walk through a museum without being guided into given spaces. For him, the rooms open up through a sound. He produces sounds in order to perceive the dimensions of a room via the echo or - to determine whether it is just a passageway or where there is a bench or an opening in the wall. Hearing is his number one sense of orientation. 

With this audio-guide, I want to offer visitors a special approach to the building, to its architecture. The art, which is usually the focus here, and also the beauty of the Muzeum Susch architecture, are secondary for Mr. Schmid during a first encounter. He has to find his way around and this process demands all his attention. To walk relying only on his orientation, turned out to be challenging: like in the true labyrinth, entering and traveling itself is exciting, when finding way out requires effort and extra sharpened attention. 

The guide was co-created with a sound technician Paul Ebhart recording Mr. Schmid voice while his walk through museum spaces. You hear both – sound of the rooms and Mr. Schmid's words as he orientates himself and goes his way. The building, which is charged with spatial peculiarities as well as with works of art currently exhibited, is broken down here to an object -like phenomenon that consists of sound, it can be touched, it feels and smells different. It is reduced to an object, which in Mr. Schmid's case is not a visual event. 

I invite you to this walk and to get involved in this experience, which invites us to omit, to disregard our all-dominating sense of sight and offers a possibility to enter into other spheres of different than our daily one perception. In the rooms of the Museum Susch this contrast of experiences becomes even more clearly perceptible for us, the sighted people. 

Willi Dorner, 22.7.2021


Link to O/MISSION POSSIBLE audio guide HERE

Courtesy Lisa Rastl/ Willi Dorner (Vienna, AT)
Courtesy Lisa Rastl/ Willi Dorner (Vienna, AT)

At the beginning of their cooperation was the project 'Feet of Contemporary Choreographers'. Their common interest in architecture and built environment took them further in collaborating - Lisa Rastl as a photographer and her visual perspective on space and contrary Willi Dorner in his physical practice and his bodily perception of our built surroundings.

The photos, films, the documentary and its descriptions testify and prove their deep understanding of bodies in relationship to space and architecture that they developed throughout their projects over the years.

Their work has been shown in Festivals and art Institutions such as
Art Basel/Basel; Turner Contemporary/Margate/UK; Garage Moscow; Deutsches Hygienemuseum/Dresden/D; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art/Seoul/Corea; Valetta/Cultural Capital 2018; Riga/Cultural Capital 2014; Lentos/Linz/A; Theatermuseum/Vienna/A; Kunstpavillion/Innsbruck/A; Musee d`art Contemporaine, Vitry-sur Seine, F.